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EXPECTATIONS

Reflection: Part B
Expectations
Whitney Illsley
823-334-925
(February 27, 2015)
Practical Nursing Leadership NURS 250 0ND
Janet Jeffery
Humber College ITAL

EXPECTATIONS

From an early age, we are all taught to follow. We are told to listen to what our parents and
figures of authority tell us. We are taught to accept and understand the beliefs that our caregivers
bestow upon us. Finally, we are encouraged to see our parents, grandparents, teachers, and elders
as role models, people to follow by example. Learning to be an effective follower is an important
stage in our early years, as it teaches us the knowledge and skills we need to become a strong
leader, as well as giving us the understanding of how to treat those who will one day follow our
example.
As a nursing student in my pre-graduate consolidation, my role is currently to be an effective
follower of my preceptor and those around me. Doing my placement in the emergency room at
Etobicoke General, I am exposed to many people who are expected to take on a leadership role
on a daily basis. It takes a strong leader to work in the emergency room, and there is no shortage
of leaders for me to look up to. However, when I think of a leader in my placement that guides
me, teaches me and instils confidence in me, I think of my preceptor Julia McIntosh. Julia, a
fellow Humber graduate, has been a Registered Practical Nurse for 13 years. She has been a
preceptor for eight years, and has guided many students throughout their journey. Over the last
several weeks, I have noticed one big consistency at my placement: Julia is the go-to person for
everything. While there is stigma between the RNs and RPNs in the emergency room, people
are always asking Julia for her help. Whether they are an RPN, RN, or Doctor, Julia seems to be
the person people look to for leadership. She is a very skilled and knowledgeable nurse, and
always remains calm in situations that may otherwise cause panic.
As an effective follower, my job is to share in the workload and responsibility, while
contributing in any way that I can (Mosby Publishing, 2007). To be an effective follower is to be
a member of a team (Mosby Publishing, 2007). It is important not to put all of the responsibility

EXPECTATIONS

on my leader, by being accountable for my own actions (Mosby Publishing, 2007). In the health
care field, everyones role contributes to what kind of environment the patient will be exposed to,
as well as what kind of care the patient will have. Being an effective follower means using your
own judgement and gut feelings to know when you should not follow. Understanding the
importance of using assertiveness to question things that may not seem right is a quality you
must have, especially when it comes to the safety of your patient (Gunn, 1996). When it comes
to being an effective follower with my preceptor, I feel that the relationship we have established
with each other ensures that we will both benefit as much as we can throughout the next several
months together. Julia has made it very clear that she wants us to learn from each other, as the
nursing field is always changing, and a fresh mind and perspective can bring new knowledge and
skills to better her practice. As a follower, I am always challenging and questioning my
preceptor, as I want to understand the rationale behind everything she does. This ensures my
growth and understanding of nursing, and contributes to Julias growth as a leader (Gunn, 1996).
This quote on followership is one I find particularly inspirational, A follower shares in an
influence relationship among leaders and other followers with the intent to support leaders
who reflect their mutual purposes (Adair, 1996-2010).
As a student in my dream placement, my expectations for my preceptor were very high. I was
looking for someone to guide me, and teach me everything. I wanted someone who challenged
me, who gave me confidence and who pushed me when I felt there was something I could not
do. My expectations, although they may seem a little high, have been met to a tee. What I did not
expect was someone who treated me as an equal, who reminded me that there are no stupid
questions, and who made me realize that I had the knowledge within me, I just needed someone

EXPECTATIONS

to show what was already there. Julia was born to lead, and her style of leadership has made me
a better follower, and inspired me to be a better leader.
One reason I feel that Julias style of leadership resonates so well with me is because she is a
transformational leader. This is the style of leadership I felt represented me in my last reflection,
and I see Julia as this style of leader as well. A transformational leader is someone who inspires
and empowers others to participate in a collective to achieve a common goal (Kelly & Crawford,
2008). Julia inspires others and uses teamwork and collaboration to finish the task at hand. She
knows everyones strengths, and motivates them to use their skills to provide the best care
possible for the patient. Transformational leaders motivate others to engage by presenting a
vision that involves shared values (Kelly & Crawford, 2008). Her ability to keep the team
motivated after working two back-to-back night shifts, by being positive and energetic provides
the team with a sense of appreciation, and helps them to understand the need to accomplish the
work with a smile, for the well-being of the patients. Taking on the role of a preceptor for
students is the epitome of being a transformational leader. You are taking on the responsibility of
inspiring your student, collaborating with your student, to reach the common goal of giving life
and practicality to a new nurse.
Throughout the discussion of leadership and followership, people often make the statement,
famously said by Vince Lombardi, Leaders are made, not born. I believe that this is mostly
true, however, there are circumstances that make it easier for a person to be a born leader. The
world holds many different types of people with different personalities and different
circumstances. Because of circumstances, there are people who are born into a leadership role. If
we take the Royal Family for example, Prince William was born into a role of leadership, just as
his son, Prince George was born into a similar role. Being born into the Royal Family, you are

EXPECTATIONS

expected from day one to possess the qualities of a leader, as it is technically in your blood. That
being said, just because the role of a leader is bestowed upon you, it does not necessarily mean
that you are or will be a good leader. That is something that needs to be learned. Hence, why
leaders are mostly made, not born. As a Prince in the Royal Family, William was groomed at an
early age, on how to be a leader. He was shaped and moulded by the rest of the Royal Family and
would be educated on how to be a leader. In the non-royal world, people are thrown in to roles of
leadership on a daily basis. What makes someone want to be a leader, often has a lot to do with
their personality and upbringing. We are beings of influence and circumstance. Our parents, or
role models may encourage our independence from day one, or they may teach us to rely on
them for everything. How we are nurtured has a lot to do with our confidence in our abilities. We
are also shaped by our life experience, and each experience contributes to who we are as a
person, and what we hope to achieve on a larger scale.Someone who is a more passive, quiet
person may fear the responsibility and grandeur that comes along with being a leader. A more
outspoken, assertive person may naturally fall into a leadership role. That being said, even a
quiet, passive person can learn to be a leader if they take the initiative and push themselves
outside of their comfort zone. As someone who was always a black sheep in the group, I feel that
my determination to rise above all of the difficulties in my life, shows that I am a leader who was
made by rising above circumstances and taking my life experiences to be a better leader, and a
better person.
In order to lead, you must first follow. Knowing how to step back and allowing someone to
guide you through your journey is the first step in making strides toward becoming a leader.
Being an effective follower is just as important in taking on a role as a leader. We all need to be
lead to learn, by example and experience gained.

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References:

Adair, R. (1996-2010). Leading Thoughts. Retrieved 2015 from Leadership Now:


http://www.leadershipnow.com/followershipquotes.html
Gunn, I. (1996). Courageous Followership. Nursing Management , 10.
Kelly, P., & Crawford, H. (2008). Nursing Leadership And Management . Toronto: Nelson.
Mosby Publishing. (2007). Bleich's Tasks of Followership. Mosby.